In the second part of UncleJesse40’s request (see here for part one) he inquired as to whether or not there were any free agents still available that could possibly help the Kansas City Royals.
Right now, there are 32 players listed on the MLB free agent tracker for MLBTradeRumors.com who remain unsigned. With the Royals having few possible openings, most of these players can be safely ignored. However, given Dayton Moore’s love of fifth outfielder types, a player such as Dewayne Wise cannot be entirely discounted.
Looking for players that could be useful for the Royals, there really are not many possibilities. Depending on how Alcides Escobar progresses from his shoulder injury, the Royals may find themselves in need of a shortstop. While it is far more likely that they will end up seeing if Pedro Ciriaco or Christian Colon can handle the position until such a time that Escobar could return, Stephen Drew is still an available free agent.
Drew has been mentioned as a possibility for the Royals before. As a shortstop who is comparable to Escobar defensively with more capability on offense, he would seemingly be an upgrade in the lineup. The problem with Drew is that he is tied to draft pick compensation. As was seen when Ervin Santana was still available, and could be had for the same contract that the Royals made as a qualifying offer, they still valued the draft pick more than the potential upgrade to the rotation. Unless Drew is still a free agent after the draft and therefore no longer tied to draft pick compensation, he just is not likely to become a member of the Royals.
A more realistic option would be for the Royals to take a chance on one of the free agent pitchers available. Of the available options, Jeff Karstens may be the most intriguing. Prior to being sidelined for the entirety of the 2013 season, which involved surgery on his rotator cuff and labrum, Karstens struggled through an injury plagued 2012 season. However, even with those injuries, Karstens appeared as though he had turned a corner in his career, putting together a 14-13 record with a 3.59 ERA and a strikeout to walk rate of 3.38 to 1.
On a minor league deal, Karstens may be the player that could provide the biggest return on investment. While he is likely best suited for a role in the back of the rotation, Karstens is a control based pitcher who would be a solid backup plan in the event of injury.
Right now, the two free agents that could hypothetically help the Royals would be Stephen Drew and Jeff Karstens. Not only is Karstens the most likely player to be signed, but he would make the most sense if the Royals were looking to make a move.
Tags: Kansas City Royals